I am a high schooler who has been trying to decide what to do with my life. I don’t feel I am ready for college, but I also don’t want to go straight into the workforce. I recently spoke to an Air Force recruiter, and joining the service really appeals to me. The only problem is my girlfriend is against it. She said she doesn’t want me to be put in harm’s way. I understand that, but I qualify for a non-combat job that would keep me far away from any actual fighting. I feel like I would be doing myself a favor, in addition to defending freedom. We got into a huge argument over it, and she is threatening to leave me. What do I do?
Patriot in Pittsburgh
When Mom decided she wanted another dog, she was very specific. She had always loved Golden Retrievers, and not just because we are the best type of dog above all, but because we have many traits that fit her lifestyle. She wanted a family member that got along with cats, someone who would jump in lakes and pools with her, and someone who was loving, kind, and smart. She also liked the way Goldens looked, and our size is just right.
When Mom brought me home as a puppy, she had no idea that I would love tennis balls over just about anything else, that I would have a weak tummy that required special grain-free food, or that I had a tendency to go swimming even in the dead of winter, even if I have to break ice to do it. While I had all of the traits she wanted in a doggy partner, I also have a mind of my own, and sometimes it does not agree with what Mom wants to do. Still, Mom would never stand in the way of me pursing what is best for me — like daily walkies and jumping in the duck pond — as long as it does not hurt anyone else.
Even though I am little different than she expected, she still loves me and would never leave me. She has never considered threatening me with anything like that, either. That is not what those in loving relationships do.
The thing is, Mom knew when she first signed on as a doggy mommy that I would have my own personality. She was ready to cope with what came her way, just as I was ready and willing to learn the house rules and make friends with the kitties.
You are just a puppy yourself, and you have many opportunities ahead of you. If your girlfriend loved you, she would celebrate that, not stifle it. You sound like you are smart about making plans for yourself, and, much like Mom would never deny me tennis balls or duck ponds, you should not limit yourself to someone who would deny you your pursuit of happiness and what very well may be your career choice. What if you stay with her and she decides she does not like something else about you or your decisions? You would always fear being yourself lest she abandon you on the side of the road somewhere, like a stray. She does not sound like she is ready to be a grown dog. She is still a puppy, and that is OK, but maybe not for you right now.
I say jump in your duck pond — I mean, airplane. Follow your dreams and be the person that makes your heart sing. The right person will hear that song, and rather than trying to shut it down, they will harmonize with their own special heart song.
Thank you in advance for your service,